The Potential Conflicts and Drawbacks of Parent Coaching


Sports teams all over the country are coached by parents, which can cause a problem between parent/coach and child/athlete on the field or the court. Some parents can be great, some can be crazy, some can be unfair. Many people have experienced parents coaching their child's team and how it changes the sports environment.

According to Brian K., a seventh grader at Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School, parents coaching sports should end in eighth grade. He said, "That's when other and better kids start to accelerate in sports, which results in their parents giving (their own kids) more playing time than players who deserve it." 

Brian said he has also experienced players getting put in games more often because parents do not trust the less talented players on the team. "Kids' feelings can get hurt by these actions and it is not fair to people who just want to have fun on the field," he said.

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Furthermore, according to, it is unhealthy for parents to coach their child's team when players aren't put in the game as much. "Fathers reported feeling that it was difficult to separate the role of coach from the role of parent. They also mentioned rebellious behavior by their sons as another negative aspect. A final negative aspect of the parent-coach/child-athlete relationship is the perception that differential treatment exists for the coach’s son." Also according to, "One estimate finds that parents of players make up 90% of all youth sport coaches." This is unhealthy because parent coaches can't really feel the emotions that some players could be going through by not getting in the game as often as others.

Luke E., a sixth grade student from Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School, said "Parents should stop coaching in eighth grade because after that year, you go into high school, which already has licensed coaches who know what they're doing."

Having to make cuts starts taking place and feelings get hurt, but that is just part of the sports environment. Parents coaching recreation sports can be amusing and exciting if players get along and get their fair share.

Sixth grader Reed M. said, "Sometimes it's just not fair. I don't understand it sometimes. To me, it doesn't make sense when parents put their child in the game more than other players." He has also seen parents complain to coaches because the coach’s son is getting put in the game "way more often. I have been there before and it's just not right in my mind." 

Clearly from a student's perspective, parent coaching can cause conflict with other parents and even the players. Mason W., who is a six-foot-two, eighth grade basketball player for Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School, has seen the impact of poor parent coaching.  "I hate that. I have seen this multiple times when there was this one guy on my team and he was put in the game more often than me and the rest of my teammates." Mason's feelings weren't hurt, but he explained how he couldn't believe that parents actually felt okay with their actions and didn't even think of the feelings of the rest of the players on the team.

According to Mason, there was one incident that he did not see coming during his 2011-12 basketball season. "He put his son in to shoot the game-winning shot and of course he air balled it. The kid was really bad at basketball too." Stopping parents coaching at a young age to Mason is a good thing because he believes if parents put their child in the game more often than other good and decent players, it can take chances from them, which will then reflect upon their future. "It should stop at a young age because it's so bad. I believe that parents should never coach their son’s team because I think it wouldn't be as competitive. The most annoying thing to me is that there is never an even amount of playing time."

According to eighth grader Sam O, his feelings have been hurt when he was taken out of the game to be replaced by a poor player in baseball. He said, "I don't want to name names, but I have no idea what that dad was thinking. It hurt me inside and the dad acted as if I didn't even exist. I know for a fact that there are more parent coaches than non-parent coaches in the U.S., but it needs to be lowered because it can cause problems like the one that happened to me."


LCJSMS Panther Pulse is a column written by students in the Digital Media program at Summit Middle School. 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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